In this week’s teaching, we learned about the life and legacy of the apostle John. His life not only deserves our appreciation, but also our imitation.
John was called, but not qualified. John was an eyewitness to the miraculous things Jesus did, but was so secure in the love of Jesus that he never included his own name in his book. He was called beloved, and yet was deeply flawed. We are very much like John and are invited to learn from and be like him as a pillar of the Christian faith.
Read this from the Bible together:
49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
“we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” Why did John have this kind of reaction to someone who was doing good in Jesus’ name? Have you ever disqualified someone from serving Jesus because they were not a part of your crowd?
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” John has a vengeful spirit. He also has racial bias against the Samaritans. Are there any people groups or political parties that you hold bias towards? Why do you think Jesus didn’t agree with John and instead rebuked his attitude towards the inhospitable Samaritans?
Do you respond to your call with willingness? In Matthew 4:22 we read of the account of John’s calling. It says, “Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.” John left his livelihood and his family to follow Jesus, immediately. Do you have a sense of holy urgency and willingness to follow Jesus like John? If yes, in what ways? If no, why do you think that is?
Do you need to respond to your flaws with repentance? John struggled with elitism, racism and ideations of vengeance. Do you identify with his flaws? If not, what flaws come to mind when you reflect on the need for repentance in your own life?
Do you respond to what Jesus is doing in your life with boldness? When was the last time you shared a story of how Jesus healed, helped or heard you or someone you know? Do you make a practice of being a story teller of God’s faithfulness like John was?
John called himself, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Can you truthfully say that Jesus’ love for you is the truest thing about you?